Google Ventures Backs Math Education Startup Desmos

EdTech, Startups / by

Google Ventures joined investors Kapor Capital, Learn Capital, Kinder Capital, and Elm Street Ventures today in funding more than $1 million for hiring, growth, and expansion of Desmos, Inc., an education technology company devoted to inspiring and engaging the next generation of math students.

“Today technology is rapidly redefining traditional education,” said Rich Miner, partner at Google Ventures. “Math is a subject area where we lose many of our students and our competitive edge. If math can come to life, as Desmos is doing, we can build a generation of students that is engaged and deeply interested in the areas of math and science. We are excited to be working with Desmos as they scale their operations to have an impact on students around the world.”

Desmos is known for the reinvention of the graphing calculator for today’s increasingly wireless classrooms. With an interactive, HTML5 graphing platform that works seamlessly across all modern browsers, Desmos offers a much-needed upgrade to traditional hand-held calculators. Users can instantly create, save, and share beautiful, full-color graphs online without the need to download or install any software.

“People have been clamoring for an alternative to outdated, overpriced graphing technology,” said founder and CEO Eli Luberoff. “At Desmos, we believe that everyone deserves access to the best educational technology available, and that given the right environment and the right tools, all students can understand — and even enjoy — math.”

How Desmos Works

Teachers and students can access the Desmos Graphing Calculator for free at www.desmos.com, or in the Google Chrome Web Store. Desmos is also one of the first apps for Edmodo.com, the leading educational social network, used by more than 10 million students and teachers. Once in the calculator, users simply type equations in the calculator’s expression bar to instantaneously see a sketch of their graph. They can update colors, highlight points of interest, save their work, share a link, and even download an image of the graph. 

Blurring the Line Between Math and Art

Desmos has seen a surge in teachers and students using the calculator for creative, project-based assignments. In a recent final project for an Algebra II high school class in Florida, students were challenged to draw Mickey Mouse using circles and ellipses. Over 2,000 different Mickey Mouse graphs were created in a week. Since then, users have built intricate graphs of cartoon characters, super heroes, animals, and much more.

Luke Walsh, a mathematics instructor at Catawba Valley Community College in North Carolina, uses Desmos for project-based learning and discovery for his classes.  Walsh commented, “The iPod revolutionized the way people listen to music and Desmos is revolutionizing the way people visualize mathematics.  As soon as students begin typing, mathematics is displayed to them in color, and they quickly become engaged by amazing features, such as dynamic sliders and points of interest. Desmos soars past the definition of a graphing calculator.”

Desmos is currently available for free at www.desmos.com. Organizations interested in partnering with Desmos should e-mail partnerships@desmos.com. Images of the graphs featured above can be found here.

Desmos is a Learn Capital company where Tom Vander Ark is a partner.

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